Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Waiting for Bulworth

Nothing like breaking bread to raise campaign bread.

Mitt Romney is offering new contributors to his presidential campaign a chance at winning a seat at the dinner table with him and Donald Trump.  Hopefully cocktails and appetizers won’t be served in Trump’s reality TV Boardroom.  That place can get ugly, and there is no guarantee that it was fully sanitized since Gary Busey and Meatloaf sat in there last season.

America’s favorite game show host and birther aficionado will happily regale you over tossed salad with stories about his superior qualifications to be President should Romney stumble.  After all, if business success is a major qualification for the office, then The Donald could be overqualified.  Add to that his status as a U.S. citizen over the age of 35, and I think he believes he is ideally suited.  Trump personifies the Bully Pulpit, so why not make it official and give him the job of Bully in Chief?  “Melania, please pass the Trump ketchup - NOW.”

Obama recently offered a chance for contributors to win an invitation to meet him at George Clooney’s place for Hollywood schmoozing.  If you pony up for Obama’s reelection, you may be one of the lucky contestants that involuntarily agrees to be vetted by the Secret Service before moving into the final selection round.  Better hope they don’t find that Netflix customer review you wrote about Clooney’s lackluster performance in One Fine Day after an especially painful break up.  Clooney dislikes negativity and he can afford to keep such vibrations outside his personal compound. 
Next up in the email trolling for dollars campaign to one lucky Obama contributor is a dinner date with Bill Clinton.  The email solicitation did not mention whether or not a recent photo was required to enter this contest.  I guess that is just assumed.  There is a 50/50 chance that after a few cold ones, Clinton will lower his rhetorical guard and relive his jealous anti-Obama rage of South Carolina circa 2008.  Seeing that red-faced rant first hand could be worth a $10 lottery ticket.

Political fundraising has become an amalgam of reality TV, state lotteries, and Publisher’s Clearinghouse mailers, and for some lucky donors, it is a shot at 15 minutes of near-celebrity fame or a shot at being a pawn in a game so cynical that you can’t possible fathom its depths.  The distance between ‘celebrity’ and ‘pawn’ is getting narrower every day. 
“You may have already won!”, but first you’ll have to send in $10 to Obama for America to claim your chance at the Big Prize.  When solicitations from the campaign arrive featuring a bigger picture of Ed McMahon than the candidate, we should question where this orgy of direct e-mail (aka spam) is leading us.

I’d like to see a request for cash that mentions that fact that the candidate will also be in attendance.  In the Romney appeal, Trump gets top billing.  In Obama’s appeal, George Clooney was clearly the A-List attendee above the incumbent Leader of the Free World.  Clooney could spice up the meal with firsthand accounts of Pitt-Jolie squabbles; Obama would regale diners with stories of the Euro Crisis and last G-6 Summit.   Which stories would you rather hear over some foie de gras?

I get plenty of email solicitations for campaign cash, and I believe that the first time I ever saw this contribution raffle was from the Obama campaign in 2008.  “Win a trip to meet me backstage at the convention”, or “Win a trip to travel on my campaign bus for a day” or something like that.  I think there was even a “Watch the GOP convention with Bill Clinton” prize 4 years ago.  The people love to gamble, and the technique must have worked because politicians are all doing it now in both national and statewide campaigns.  I thought I saw an email solicitation from Sen. Orrin Hatch’s SuperPAC with the headline, “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!”  It’s silly season.

I look forward to one day receiving a solicitation from a politician that reads something like this:

If you agree with me more often than you agree with my opponent, I could use your financial support.  In this day and age, without voluntary contributions from people like you, your government will continue to be run by assholes.  I offer no meals, I offer no celebrity meetings, I offer no signed memorabilia.  I only pledge to listen to both sides of every issue, research the facts, and make the best, most informed decision I can.  Some of you will disagree and some of you will agree.  That’s my only promise – someone will be disappointed.

I’d pay to have a chance to sit with that candidate.  I am sure that I would not be disappointed.

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